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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Sep 22;106(38):16040-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0903446106. Epub 2009 Jul 1.

Out of Africa: modern human origins special feature: the spread of modern humans in Europe.

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Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, 1560 30th Street, Campus Box 450, Boulder, CO 80309-0450, USA.


The earliest credible evidence of Homo sapiens in Europe is an archaeological proxy in the form of several artifact assemblages (Bohunician) found in South-Central and possibly Eastern Europe, dating to < or =48,000 calibrated radiocarbon years before present (cal BP). They are similar to assemblages probably made by modern humans in the Levant (Emiran) at an earlier date and apparently represent a population movement into the Balkans during a warm climate interval [Greenland Interstadial 12 (GI 12)]. A second population movement may be represented by a diverse set of artifact assemblages (sometimes termed Proto-Aurignacian) found in the Balkans, parts of Southwest Europe, and probably in Eastern Europe, and dating to several brief interstadials (GI 11-GI 9) that preceded the beginning of cold Heinrich Event 4 (HE4) (approximately 40,000 cal BP). They are similar to contemporaneous assemblages made by modern humans in the Levant (Ahmarian). The earliest known human skeletal remains in Europe that may be unequivocally assigned to H. sapiens (Pe├žstera cu Oase, Romania) date to this time period (approximately 42,000 cal BP) but are not associated with artifacts. After the Campanian Ignimbrite volcanic eruption (40,000 cal BP) and the beginning of HE4, artifact assemblages assigned to the classic Aurignacian, an industry associated with modern human skeletal remains that seems to have developed in Europe, spread throughout the continent.

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